TORONTO, Oct. 16, 2017 - CGI (TSX: GIB.A) (NYSE: GIB), along with the Bank of Montreal (BMO), Royal Bank of Canada, and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. (MUFG), have successfully completed a first-ever proof of concept (POC) that enables banks engaged in trade finance to integrate powerful blockchain capabilities with existing trade finance platforms potentially leading to added productivity, reduced costs and providing customers with a competitive advantage. The POC established seamless interoperability between CGI Trade360, which is a bank trade finance platform, and Skuchain Brackets, a distributed ledger B2B platform for smart contracts. For the first time, a trade finance platform and a blockchain-based platform have been integrated to demonstrate how banks will be able to provide trade finance services digitally to their customers conducting business on blockchain B2B platforms.
Historically, trade finance has been a complicated and paper-intensive line of business and a source of delay in buyer and seller transactions. This POC successfully demonstrated streamlined processes for digital trading, from sales agreement creation (smart contract), letter of credit (LC) application and issuance/advisement to presentation of documents, bank examination and payment notification. Instantaneous delivery of electronic documents could reduce the in-transit time required for conducting this business from days to minutes.
This POC points the way to an end-to-end, holistic solution between a corporate's B2B platform and the CGI Trade360 trade services platform including a broader set of trade finance products. The ultimate goal of the B2B platforms is to achieve greater visibility for a customer into their supply chain and ensure accountability through complete and unalterable audit trails of end-to-end processes. Demonstrating interoperability between CGI Trade360 and Brackets sets the stage for further digital transformation of financial supply chains.
"Blockchain and smart contracts have the potential to reinvent global trade – improving speed, reducing costs, enhancing productivity and taking the paper out of trade," said Jeff Shell, head of Global Trade and Banking with BMO Capital Markets. "CGI has been an important trade finance technology partner to BMO for many years, and this Skuchain Brackets proof of concept collaboration is another example of BMO's commitment to stay at the forefront of the trade and supply chain finance industry."
"RBC is always looking for new and innovative ways to help clients manage and grow their business," said Lisa Lansdowne-Higgins, Vice President, Business Financial Services at RBC. "Global trade is a high growth opportunity for Canadian businesses to expand their reach and achieve that growth. Blockchain technology is an emerging opportunity to drive supply chain efficiencies and this test is a foundational step forward for the business."
"MUFG is pleased to support CGI's Blockchain initiatives. This new technology will contribute to transforming how Trade Finance supports our customers. We understand the important role that leading Trade Finance banks, like MUFG, can play in revolutionizing how technology drives our business," said Steven Lotito, Head of Trade Finance Transaction Banking at MUFG.
"Skuchain is proud to have executed, along with CGI and its bank partners, the first integration of two production-grade systems to provide a blockchain-based trade finance platform for commercial use in the near future. Our company was built on the premise that blockchain will bring enormous efficiencies to the supply chain, and supporting the adoption of blockchain for end-to-end trade finance transactions is an important part of that mission," said Srinivasan Sriram, CEO of Skuchain.
"Interoperability between CGI Trade360 and Brackets provides a fully digital workflow using existing transaction processing," said Frank Tezzi, CGI Vice President of Trade and Supply Chain. "Banks will not only support their supply chain customers with leading edge technology, but will leverage their existing investments in operating models and trained staff. CGI Trade360 and Skuchain's Brackets form a holistic solution that we intend to evolve into a commercial offering," Tezzi said.
Skuchain is a blockchain technology company that provides transparency, security and efficiency to the supply chain, enabling optimal planning and agility for downstream buyers and working capital relief for upstream suppliers. Skuchain's agile solution suite has been adopted across aerospace, food and agriculture, electronics, energy, auto, finance and other industries. For more information, go to www.skuchain.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1976, CGI Group Inc. is the fifth largest independent information technology and business process services firm in the world. Approximately 70,000 professionals serve thousands of global clients from offices and delivery centers across the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific, leveraging a comprehensive portfolio of services including high-end business and IT consulting, systems integration, application development and maintenance, infrastructure management as well as a wide range of proprietary solutions. With annual revenue in excess of C$10 billion and an order backlog of approximately C$20 billion, CGI shares are listed on the TSX (GIB.A) and the NYSE (GIB). Website: www.cgi.com.
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